Taiwan's inclusion on Russian 'unfriendly list' has little impact: Wu

03/08/2022 01:53 PM
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Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (left) and Premier Su Tseng-chang attend Tuesday
Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (left) and Premier Su Tseng-chang attend Tuesday's legislative session to answer lawmakers' questions. CNA photo March 8, 2022

Taipei, March 8 (CNA) Russia's decision to put Taiwan on a list of foreign countries deemed "unfriendly" to Moscow after its invasion of Ukraine will have little impact on bilateral relations for the time being, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said Tuesday.

Taiwan's representative office in Moscow is currently operating normally and it has been able to carry out its work, including helping Taiwanese who were evacuated from Ukraine, without Russian interference, said Wu.

However, Taiwan's foreign ministry will closely monitor the situation so if Russia takes any action against Taipei, it will be prepared to take responsive measures accordingly, said the minister.

Wu's comments were made after the Russian government released a list on Monday of 48 countries and territories that had been deemed unfriendly to Moscow by imposing or joining international sanctions against Russia after its invasion of Ukraine.

Taiwan is on the list along with the United States and Canada, the EU states, the UK, Ukraine, Montenegro, Switzerland, Albania, Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, North Macedonia, and also Japan, South Korea, Australia, Micronesia, New Zealand, and Singapore, according to the Russian state-owned news agency TASS.

The TASS report mentioned Taiwan as being "considered a territory of China, but ruled by its own administration since 1949," as Moscow diplomatically recognizes Beijing instead of Taipei.

According to the decree, the Russian government allowed Russian citizens and companies, the state itself, its regions, and municipalities that have obligations in foreign currency to foreign creditors from the list of unfriendly countries to pay back their debts in rubles, which has plunged to new lows due to the international sanctions against Russia.

Asked by an opposition lawmaker to comment on the issue, Wu told a Legislative session Tuesday that Taiwan-Russia trade and investment relations were not very significant so being included on the list was not expected to have a major impact on Taiwan.

According to government statistics, bilateral trade between Taiwan and Russia was US$6.306 billion in 2021, with Taipei's exports to Moscow reaching US$1.318 billion, making up only 0.76 percent of the total outbound sales.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政) who doubles as the ruling party's International Affairs Department chief, told reporters that Taiwan did not need to worry too much about being on Russia's list of unfriendly countries.

Taiwan is joining many countries in the world in showing solidarity with Ukraine and has the moral high ground, Lo said.

Taiwan has already announced that it intends to join the United States and other countries in imposing sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, but it has yet to provide any specifics of the items that will be covered.

The country also launched a fundraising campaign that has so far raised more than NT$300 million (US$10.5 million) in less than a week and donated supplies to Ukraine.

(By Kou Chien-sheng, Yeh Su-ping and Joseph Yeh)

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